At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
Those of you who like your games served fresh while you peruse the day's social updates might want to sit down. Google+ Games will shut down on June 30, taking users' game data with it. But social gamers aren't aren't entirely without hope. Some developers will designate new destination sites for their games, and a few games already have alternative links set up.
In-game payments inside any of the games that are set to disappear will have to be used up before June 30 arrives.
Google TV is the project no one in Mountain View likes to talk about. It was announced with much fanfare, but the platform has languished on an ancient version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb for far too long. Well, Google didn't see fit to mention it at the keynote, but Google TV is getting a fresh coat of paint with an Android 4.2.2 update.
The update should appear on compatible Google TV devices in the next few months and bring new core functionality and support for newer builds of Google Chrome.
Let it be not be said that Google neglected the Google TV platform today at I/O. Though it wasn't mentioned during this morning's 3 hour-plus keynote, the company rolled out a new version of the YouTube app for TV during the presentation.
Specifically, the updated application brings a simplified UI, enhanced video playback controls, and support for paid channels. The video discovery and subscription tabs now show playlists with blown-up video thumbnails and bolded titles for easier browsing.
One of the cooler new features of both Gmail and Google Wallet that didn't make it into today's three-hour Google I/O keynote is the new ability to send money to any Gmail contact. Just message or reply to someone, write something along the lines of "here's your money, dog," and click the Attachments paperclip icon. You'll see a new option among the expanding icons: a dollar sign. Click the dollar sign, and you can send funds straight from Google Wallet.
Today, Google announced a new look for the Google+ stream. Gone is the weird, bubbly look that we've had for forever. The cards-centric UI that we've seen on phones and tablets is now coming to the desktop as well. You can select a one, two, or three-column layout and each individual card can flip over with a slick animation and provide more information and options.
Google's also improving its search and tagging functionality.
We heard some last-minute rumors that Samsung's shiny new flagship, not even released in every market, is getting a special Google Edition. Well it's true, boys and girls: the Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real, and it's going to feature the same stock Android experience as Nexus devices. The GS4 Google Edition will be sold through the Google Play Store with the same AT&T and T-Mobile bands as the Nexus 4, plus LTE support.
Today, Google brought it's A-game with a subscription service for Play Music. Now, you can pay a $9.99 monthly fee to get unlimited access to a library of music. It also comes with a new, updated Play Music app that doesn't look like complete garbage. There's also a host of features including the ability to turn any track into a radio station.
The one key way that this service distinguishes itself from other subscription services is that this includes all of your own personal music.
Right off the bat here at Google I/O, the company is telling developers about some awesome new tools for apps. A new series of APIs will enable a variety of new services for both developers and end users. Here are some of the highlights.
Version 2 of the Location API, which includes:
- Geofencing (assigning triggers to specific geographical locations) and up to 100 fences per app
- a fused location provider, which should allow for active location gathering at just 1% battery drain per hour or increased accuracy
- Activity recognition - API can recognize if users are walking, biking, driving, et cetera.
Today, Google announced Google Play game services that brings a suite of new features that game developers can integrate into their titles. The biggest of them is cloud data sync. Game developers can sync their players' progress across devices and platforms. Yes, this feature works on Android and iOS. This is hot.
In addition to cloud data sync, the suite of services also brings achievements and leaderboards. Any game can now tap into a unified system for showing off your accomplishments.